Forty-four years ago today I fought my way through a swamp of biological fluid, emerging in a world filled with merriment and madness.
It should be noted that this month also contains the wife’s birthday and our anniversary, but out of respect for my love’s privacy I have decided to skip the obligatory posts commemorating those occasions. Not everyone has web fever, my friends. Nevertheless, I love you, Jackie. Your love is the glue that keeps me from coming apart at the seams.
Where was I? Oh yeah, my grand entrance. Let’s see… a guy in scrubs slapped me on the behind, I screamed like a banshee, and it was all uphill from there, kids. Many of my friends – like the ultra-gifted Daile – have used their piece of virtual real estate to share some tasty tidbits about themselves with the world. But that’s not my bag – on most days, that is.
But this isn’t just any day.
So here we go.
1) Other than Casa de Hook, my favorite place in the world is my friendly neighborhood comic book store. Technically, Pulp Comics and Big B Comics are tied for my loyalty but in the end, everyone wins, so I’m fine with being caught between two worlds. Book stores in general have always brought peace to my oft-troubles soul. There’s no substitute for surrounding oneself with the collective works of the human mind. Especially in all their four-color, glossy glory.
2) I don’t drink, smoke or pollute my pasty white form with any recreational drugs, not that I’m judging anyone who does, mind you. The hardest thing about this world is living in it and our weaknesses have been put into place to test our limits.
3) I’ve learned more from sinners than saints.
4) Believe it or not, I find peace in the simple act of placing one foot in front of the other in the great outdoors, whether it be the urban jungle or the natural one. The most peaceful time of my day? My walk to work where I let the tunes flow into my brain box while I contemplate my life’s many mysteries. I love my family, but I spend my days surrounded by thousands of people and so a little solitude is a gift that goes a long way, my friends.
5) I have no problem sharing my hotel adventures, but I’m not comfortable writing about myself, although I’ll make an exception or two, obviously.
6) My childhood had its share of darkness but my mind rarely returns to those moments. I prefer to walk in joyful memories like this one:
The years was 1984. It was a beautiful, clear day in March and I set out from my grandmother’s apartment on Westchester Avenue in St. Catharines for a journey that would span several miles. And yes, as always, I made this journey alone.
I miss the Eighties. A lad like me could embark on an all-day adventure that wouldn’t end with his face splashed on a milk carton or a Walmart bulletin board. (Yes, I realize that Walmart didn’t open their first store in Canada until 1994. Shut up.)
Anyway, I made my way, surrounded by fresh air and a sense of hope, to Diana Sweets restaurant on St. Paul Street for a plate of fries with gravy and a Coke in a tall glass. Diana Sweets had an eight-feet candy counter that allowed a kid to overdose on a seemingly-endless variety of confections. They had milkshake machines, wall-to-wall mirrors and more atmosphere than a thousand modern-day establishments. It was Nirvana surrounded by cheap wood and vinyl seats.
After filling my belly for less than the cost of a single modern comic book, I continued on, reaching Len’s Odd and Ends within a few minutes. Heroes walked the aisles of Len’s, their adventures radiating from brightly-colored periodicals. One book in particular struck me like a blast from Iron Man’s repulsors that day: All-Star Squadron #31 from DC Comics.
I won’t bore the comic book challenged among you with all the details, but suffice to say the story involved in a gathering of World War Two-era heroes who have gathered their entire membership for the first time to protect the United States from all its enemies.
Naturally, there is a twist in the form of the embodiment of the American spirit (Uncle Sam, ‘natch), who appears to persuade the heroes to travel to an alternate earth under the thumb of the Nazi regime.
Heroes in every color and form imaginable, Nazis getting punched in the face. A philosophical debate amongst the greatest heroes of WWII. All for under a buck. What more could a kid ask for?
Needless to say I was enthralled and my imagination soared. The rest is Hook history.
7) I have only recently begun to acknowledge and accept my own mortality. I feel simultaneously enlightened and bummed.
8) They say all the world is a stage and one thing I’ve learned is that no one is going to hand you a role. You have to lie, cheat, bitch-slap and do whatever it takes to carve out a recurring role in this drama we call life that people will take notice of. And there are no Academy Awards to achieve. The best you can hope for is a standing ovation in the big theater in the sky when you finally exit stage left for the last time.
9) I am a bellman who loves his job but hates people. I’m funny that way.
10) Blogging convention dictates that this list contain ten items. I hate social convention.
As of this writing, my day has sucked harder than Jesse Jane on a good day. I just served three union witches who fought me tooth and nail for their own cart. I almost choked on the irony. Oh well, the wheel is bound to turn in my favor sooner or later.
See you in the lobby, kids…